Friday, March 21, 2008

Fox News moves from Hillary-bashing to Obama-bashing: Predictable and predicted

Fox TV newsman Chris Wallace got fed up and took some of his "Fox and Friends" colleagues to task today for "two hours of Obama-bashing" based on distorting and obsessing about a remark of Obama's in which he used the phrase "typical white person."
I don't think he was making a hyper-racial remark [....] But, you know, the fact is that after giving a speech on race earlier this week on Tuesday, he gave a major speech on Iraq on Wednesday, and a major speech on the economy yesterday. And so I think [the Obama campaign] would say, in terms of deflecting attention away from issues people really want to hear about, maybe it's the media doing it, not Barack Obama. [....]
(Now, why would they say that?)

The team from "Fox and Friends" responded by unintentionally spilling the beans: Now Obama is simply getting the kind of idiotic, unfair, trivializing, obsessively and absurdly race-sensitive pseudo-coverage that Hillary Clinton and her campaign have been getting for months. ("But had Hillary Clinton said the same thing on the other side ... it'd hit the fan." Etc.) So what's the problem?

You can watch this exchange HERE.

=> At the beginning of March, Greg Sargent of TPM (along with Glenn Greenwald & others) warned us all, rather prophetically, that this kind of stuff was coming up. Read his March 3 post below, but here are some of the key points:
Both Glenn Greenwald and Digby today weighed in on the question of whether the media's been harsher on Hillary than on Obama -- and they both answered with a resounding Yes.

But both of them also add a crucial dimension to the discussion that's been absent thus far: The key point that media "toughness" is a vapid, almost meaningless term that doesn't get at the core problem here.

Greenwald, for his part, says that he agrees that Hillary "has borne the far greater brunt of media hatred and hostility over the last year." He adds that when media figures "start talking about how they have to subject Obama to 'scrutiny', too, they don't mean that they're going to re-evaluate the trashy, vapid coverage they applied to Clinton and start examining his record, his positions, his views, etc." Instead, he predicts, they'll do the same to Obama that they did to Hillary.

Meanwhile, Digby, in an email to Greenwald, writes: "It's a fact that Clinton has received much harsher treatment than Obama." She suggests that media people will reach exactly the wrong conclusion about their own failings: "Instead of reevaluating their bias against Clinton and examining their sexism in general, they are now going to rectify matters by going after Obama on a bunch of irrelevant, superficial stuff to 'make up' for their transgressions."[....]

[I]n a very broad sense the press and punditry's treatment of Hillary has often been unfair on a very fundamental level, sometimes pathologically so. No other candidate has had to endure the amount of media smut that's been hurled her way. No matter who you support, the quality of the coverage of Hillary is not a state of affairs anyone should be happy about.

And this brings me to a point I've been meaning to make here. Those who insist that Hillary deserves fair treatment from the media have been subjected to a tremendous amount of abuse by a tiny and unrepresentative minority of Obama supporters who see such a demand as nothing but Hillary shilling, or "Shillary," as they like to put it.

But as Greenwald and Digby both note, it's not hard to imagine that should Obama become the nominee, he may find himself subjected to the same sort of media treatment, if not quite in degree, that Obama supporters defended when it was directed at Hillary. If and when Obama supporters start griping about this, as they should, then the complaints directed at those insisting on fair treatment of Hillary will in retrospect look shortsighted indeed.
Right. Now get ready for much more of the sort of thing that Chris Wallace was talking about.

Yours for reality-based discourse,
Jeff Weintraub
==============================
Greg Sargent (The Horse's Mouth - TPM)
March 3, 2008 - 3:49 PM EST
It's Not About "Toughness." It's About "Fairness."

Both Glenn Greenwald and Digby today weighed in on the question of whether the media's been harsher on Hillary than on Obama -- and they both answered with a resounding Yes.

But both of them also add a crucial dimension to the discussion that's been absent thus far: The key point that media "toughness" is a vapid, almost meaningless term that doesn't get at the core problem here.

Greenwald, for his part, says that he agrees that Hillary "has borne the far greater brunt of media hatred and hostility over the last year." He adds that when media figures "start talking about how they have to subject Obama to `scrutiny,' too, they don't mean that they're going to re-evaluate the trashy, vapid coverage they applied to Clinton and start examining his record, his positions, his views, etc." Instead, he predicts, they'll do the same to Obama that they did to Hillary.

Meanwhile, Digby, in an email to Greenwald, writes: "It's a fact that Clinton has received much harsher treatment than Obama." She suggests that media people will reach exactly the wrong conclusion about their own failings: "Instead of reevaluating their bias against Clinton and examining their sexism in general, they are now going to rectify matters by going after Obama on a bunch of irrelevant, superficial stuff to 'make up' for their transgressions."

Exactly right. The key question here isn't, or shouldn't be, whether the press has been "equally tough" on both candidates. Rather, the question is whether the press has been equally fair to them. The question is whether both candidates have been treated with similar measures of professionalism, judiciousness, even sanity.

And the simple truth is that they haven't. Though I agree with Matthew Yglesias' argument that the picture isn't completely clear cut, and I agree with Greg Mitchell's case that the media could suddenly shift gears and write a Hillary-comeback narrative, in a very broad sense the press and punditry's treatment of Hillary has often been unfair on a very fundamental level, sometimes pathologically so. No other candidate has had to endure the amount of media smut that's been hurled her way. No matter who you support, the quality of the coverage of Hillary is not a state of affairs anyone should be happy about.

And this brings me to a point I've been meaning to make here. Those who insist that Hillary deserves fair treatment from the media have been subjected to a tremendous amount of abuse by a tiny and unrepresentative minority of Obama supporters who see such a demand as nothing but Hillary shilling, or "Shillary," as they like to put it.

But as Greenwald and Digby both note, it's not hard to imagine that should Obama become the nominee, he may find himself subjected to the same sort of media treatment, if not quite in degree, that Obama supporters defended when it was directed at Hillary. If and when Obama supporters start griping about this, as they should, then the complaints directed at those insisting on fair treatment of Hillary will in retrospect look shortsighted indeed.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home